On Jan. 24, 2016, the day after shooting and killing 22-year-old Kaleb Watson in a deadly Fort Smith home robbery, 16-year-old Shakur Sharp went to church with his mother and then fled town.
It wasn’t long before detective Anthony Parkinson of the Fort Smith Police Department caught up with Sharp in Little Rock and brought him back to Fort Smith for questioning in the armed robbery and homicide at 4704 Windsor Drive. A woman named Bailey Smith was with Watson at his home when the shooting took place.
On Monday in the Sebastian County Courthouse, Circuit Judge Stephen Tabor began what should be a two-day sentencing hearing for Sharp. Just two weeks ago, near his plea deadline, Sharp pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and kidnapping. He turned 18 on Feb. 4 this year.
On this first day of the sentencing hearing, prosecutors showed the video recording of Parkinson’s interview with Sharp. He said he went to First Baptist Church with his mother the morning after the shooting death and then got a ride to Little Rock, where he stayed in a vacant house while his younger brother went to his aunt’s house. When Sharp found out Watson had died, Parkinson said he showed remorse and told the detective to tell Watson’s parents “I am sorry.”
Lawyers with the Sebastian County Prosecutor’s Office called to the stand several detectives involved with the homicide investigation and established that evidence had been collected and stored correctly.
The defendant’s attorney, Leo Monterrey of North Little Rock, confirmed with Parkinson that his client did not lie and was not misleading to police.
A jury trial had been expected this week. Many of Watson’s family members were present at the sentencing hearing Monday.
Defense attorneys for Sharp’s two accomplices, younger brother James Sharp Jr. and their friend Dionte Parks, are still waiting for word from an appeals court about their denial by Tabor for a juvenile transfer.
In May, Monterrey won a motion to sever Shakur Sharp’s trial from his co-defendants. They had all gone through a lengthy juvenile transfer hearing in March.
The teens are currently slated to be tried as adults. Shakur Sharp was booked into the Sebastian County Adult Detention Center on Sept. 20. His younger brother and Parks remain in the juvenile facility. They also face first-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery charges.
During the juvenile transfer hearing, Parks admitted to having given the idea to the Sharp brothers of robbing Watson, who lived two doors down at the apartment complex on Windsor Drive in north Fort Smith. Monday, detective Kevin Williams responded to prosecutor’s questions on the 53 crime scene photographs he had taken at Watson’s apartment.